have and that's a reasonable conversation for a society to have, what kind of place are we, how will we spend our money, but why link that, in this case, to the debt ceiling, which could, after all, be a clean vote. we could make a decision to do the debt ceiling, and we do have, after all, an election coming up. seems an election would be exactly the right time to have this kind of public dialogue about who we are as a country. >> well, a couple of answers to that. first of all, the size of the debt, the national debt, has grown. it really is big right now, almost as large as the whole economy itself and it hasn't been that way since the end of world war ii. people have been increasingly attempted to use the debt ceiling vote as a political weapon. the democrats did that a few years ago. as a matter of fact, barack obama, when he was a senator, not president, voted against an increase in the debt ceiling for political reasons himself. but when the tea party arrived, they use this vote as an excuse for a kind of building takeover.